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The Numbers Speak for Themselves: TAHS Students Lead the Region in Academic Growth

Tyrone was 294 places ahead of the next highest ranked Blair County School in PVAAS growth in 2016

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Tyrone’s stellar reputation for excellence continues to extend beyond the football field and into the classroom.

In 2015 Tyrone received one of the most prestigious awards given to a public school, a National Blue Ribbon Award from the US Department of Education. Already this year, Tyrone has been honored with more top scores in several other measures of academic achievement.

According to Tyrone High School Principal Tom Yoder, there is no magic formula for Tyrone’s success.

“I believe the difference comes in areas that are not easily measured – for example – a positive climate for students and staff; a focus on the importance of academics; an orderly school environment; and excellent teachers who truly care about kids and the subjects that they teach,” said Yoder.

PVAAS – Third in the state

Tyrone Area High School now ranks third out of 653 high schools in Pennsylvania in PVAAS growth.

PVAAS stands for Pennsylvania Value-Added Assessment System and is a state wide system used to track the growth students actually make beyond what statistical models predict they should make. PVAAS uses data from the annual Keystone Exams to determine school rank.

Our teachers and students work so hard and are very focused on growth and achievement – and this makes the difference”

— Mr. Yoder

All schools in the surrounding area were ranked significantly lower than Tyrone.

The next highest ranking school in central Pennsylvania was Penns Valley High School at 31 and Penn Cambria High School at 42. Two other regional schools finished in the top 100; Philipsburg-Osceola Area High School at 79, and State College High School was 87th.  

Among Blair County schools, Hollidaysburg was the next highest ranking school on the list at 297, followed by Bellwood at 308, Altoona at 390, Williamsburg at 417, Central at 497 and Claysburg was ranked last in Blair County at 549.

To download a PDF of the compete statewide rankings, click here: pvaas-keystone-state-rank.

Keystone Proficiency Rate – Above state average across all testing areas

The Keystone Exams are taken by all high school students at the conclusion of several testable courses, including Biology, Algebra I, and English.

Tyrone’s Keystone proficiency rate is higher than state average in all testing areas.

In Literature, Tyrone had an 89.7% proficiency rate. The state average is 76.8%. In the Algebra I Keystones, Tyrone had a 4.8% higher proficiency than the state average, 81.0% to 76.2%. Biology Keystones are 9.7% higher than the state average, 75.4% to 65.7%.

growth1

Tyrone’s scores are especially impressive among students who come from economically disadvantaged households.

Proficiency rates for economically disadvantaged students in Literature are nearly 20% higher than the state average (60.3% to 40.7%).  In Algebra I, Tyrone is 21.4% higher than the state average (47.0% to 26.5%). In Biology, Tyrone’s proficiency rate is 57.1% as compared to the state average of 29.4%– 27.7% higher than the state average.

“Our teachers and students work so hard and are very focused on growth and achievement – and this makes the difference,” says Yoder.

One of the methods Tyrone uses to achieve such high scores is the Get More Math program. The Get More Math program is used by Algebra I teachers to prepare students for the Keystones.

“The students have to master a certain number of questions on a new skill each day.  Then once they have shown mastery on the new skill, they are immediately pushed into a cumulative review that covers everything I’ve taught over the course of the year so far, and chooses questions for them that they need to practice the most,” said Tyrone High School math teacher Erica Martin.

Part of what makes this program successful is that it is individualized to meet each students’ needs. The program gives each student questions based on their areas of greatest need. Once a student shows improvement on a given skill, the program will suggest that question type less frequently.

My students are retaining their skills so much more because they are reviewing old problems every single day. In a typical math class, when you don’t do or see a problem for a few weeks – you forget how to do it”

— Mrs. Martin

“My students are retaining their skills so much more because they are reviewing old problems every single day.  In a typical math class, when you don’t do or see a problem for a few weeks – you forget how to do it,” said Martin.

School Performance Profile (SPP) – Best in the region

Tyrone also has very high SPP scores. Pennsylvania’s  School Performance Profile (SPP) is a statistic developed by the State Department of Education. The SPP determines an academic score to rate public schools. This score is based on a 100-point scale.

Tyrone’s score for the SPP for 2016 is 93.3. That is a 12.3 point increase from 2013. In 2013, Tyrone’s score was 81.

According to 11th grade English teacher, Steve Everhart, no high school within 100 miles of Tyrone has a higher SPP score.

SAT Scores – 115 point improvement in five years

Even SAT scores have increased over the past couple years. During the past five years, Tyrone students’ SAT scores have improved by 115 points.

Tyrone students are now receiving higher scores than the national averages for the SAT in Reading and Writing. In reading, Tyrone students achieved a 499 average. The national average is 494. The average writing score for Tyrone is 507, whereas the national average is 482.

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NOCTI – Higher than statewide average

Tyrone’s National Occupational Competency Testing Institute scores  (NOCTIin 2016 were also higher than the statewide average.

The NOCTI is a standardized test for students studying career and technical programs in high school. There are six Assessment Groups that students at Tyrone are offered. Those groups are manufacturing technology, nursing assistant, carpentry, production agriculture, accounting, and workplace readiness.

The Statewide Overall Competence score is 83%, whereas Tyrone’s Overall Competence Score is 84%.

All but two of Tyrone’s Assessment Groups are above the statewide average. They are accounting (23% below the state average), and nursing assistant (6% below the state average). The low accounting average may be attributed to several factors. One of these may be a high teacher turnover rate. Another factor could be a small sample size of only five students.

However, several of the other Assessment Groups are much higher than the state average. The production agriculture score exceeds the state average by 12%. Carpentry also is 9% higher than the state average.

Tyrone’s test scores are improving as our school works hard to help students to be successful. These scores reflect the success of both the staff and the students. Tyrone school will continue to try and improve its scores in the future.

“We constantly evaluate and re-evaluates our curriculum and our teaching strategies to remain on the cutting edge. It is important never to become complacent and always continue to explore ways to improve what we are doing,” says Yoder.

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The voice of the Tyrone Area High School
The Numbers Speak for Themselves: TAHS Students Lead the Region in Academic Growth